Monday, February 06, 2006

Mecca Bites? By Matt Berman

Herzlia, Israel, Matt Berman reporting:

Here's my version of our crawl.

It was an ordinary Thursday night from my calculation. Actually, on an ordinary Thursday I probably would be home watching TV, but instead I was out in Tel Aviv checking out a local scene. The goal was Lillenblum St. to go to the Velvet Underground but we never made it. Oh, we made it to Lillenblum all right, but due to lack of vision or signage we never caught the VU. Next time, next time.

We ended up on Rothschild, I think, and after walking into a black hole of a bar--this place was pitch black--we traversed its length and made a quick exit. The music was deafening and not even very good. Besides, it was a very narrow and claustrophopic place. They called it Bordau, a name intended to sound like French for whore-house. It's wedged in between Churchill's--a place that remains a mystery because of the 40 shekel cover they were charging--and the place we finally settled down in, called Mecca.

Mecca is a very cool bar. Or rather, bars--one upstairs, one down. You walk in and are greeted to a spiral staircase that takes you up to a virtual catwalk. For some reason there are stools lined up but the path from the staircase to the bar is so narrow that if people were sitting there nobody else would be able to pass. Anyway, at the top of the stairs, you go left or right around a square walkway that lets out on one end--you actually want to go left because you hit a dead end going right--and into a cozy area with a full sized bar and some tables. We spent most of our time downstairs, but I think it was more crowded upstairs.

The downstairs bar is in the shape of a question mark. When we sat down, we were presented with friendly service from Oren who, like most Israelis I have met, was disappointed that I spoke to him in Hebrew. He complained that he couldn't practice his English to which I replied, in Hebrew of course, "Speak to me in English, but I have to practice my Hebrew." (He spoke to me in Hebrew.)

The bartender who ultimately served us was a girl from Tel Aviv who seemed very American, but according to her she didn't spend much time there at all. Seemed hard to believe. We ordered beers--they have Goldstar, some light colored ale that Yoni ordered, Carlsberg (I think) and Guiness. I would not recommend the Guiness because the chance of having it poured wrong is about 50/50, but if you're a gambler then go for it. Anyway, I didn't look at the menu, which was a mistake. I would probably eat there next time--if the food is like the rest of the place then it is good. And there will definitely be a next time--but I'll make sure to spend more time upstairs. I might even gamble on a Guiness.


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